Check, switch, save

Check, switch, save this Big EnergCheck, switch, savey Saving Week. Don’t be on energy autopilot.


Big Energy Saving Week starts on 31 October 2016. It is a national campaign to help people cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to.

The week focuses on raising public awareness of how to switch energy supplier or tariff to get the best deal and make homes energy efficient. This is the sixth Big Energy Saving Week and is a partnership between Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy with the support of numerous organisations, charities and companies.

People can use the Citizens Advice price comparison tool to compare prices from different energy suppliers.


Recycle smart to ensure your bins is collected

recyclewheelAshford Borough Council’s recycling service is certainly one to be proud of. The service has seen the borough quadruple its recycling performance, become the country’s most improved recycling authority, and been shortlisted for two categories in the 2015 National Recycling Awards.

You may remember the yellow ‘Warning’ stickers Biffa issued last year which indicated any incorrect items placed in the bin, and warned if they were found again the bin would not be collected. Following the crackdown, residents made an excellent effort to improve their recycling habits. However, recently standards have unfortunately slipped and we have seen a significant amount of unrecyclable materials being placed in recycling bins which has resulted in some waste loads being rejected.

Once again we are cracking down on contamination by encouraging residents to recycle smart to ensure their bins are collected. We are working closely with Biffa to ensure that the recycling collected is of the highest quality, but we need our residents to help us achieve this. Biffa staff will now be checking what is being placed in recycling bins to try and ensure that the loads collected are clean and can be recycled.

If Biffa find an unrecyclable item in your recycling bin, unfortunately the crew will not collect it for that week. We advise you to take your waste to the KCC Household Recycling Centre for disposal instead. Your recycling bin will be collected upon your next recycling collection, provided the correct items are present. (more…)

ABC supports stubbing out smoking

smokefreeplayThe Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is calling for voluntary ‘no smoking zones’ to be implemented across the UK wherever children play or learn.

In a bid to help protect children’s health and reduce the perception among young people that smoking is normal behaviour, the CIEH launched a campaign on World Environmental Health Day (26th September 2016) to extend non-smoking areas around places such as schools and play parks, or locations where young people learn or play.  www.cieh.org/world-environmental-health-day.html

To support their cause the CIEH produced a selection of case studies demonstrating the benefits of introducing smoke free environments; Ashford’s smoke free play areas initiative is among those highlighted along with other local authorities including Nottingham City Council and Coventry City Council.

In April 2015 Ashford Borough Council (ABC) was invited by Kent County Council (KCC) Public Health to pilot a smoke free play area project in a bid to provide a non-smoking environment for children and their families to enjoy, help protect children from the effects of second hand smoke, and reduce the number of children who start smoking after being influenced by those who do.

ABC rolled out smoke free pilots in a number of play areas across the borough including The Stour Centre, Kilndown, Bullied Place and Newtown Green. They created fun pavement games, which are a fantastic way to keep children active, as well as engaging signage which encourages a smoke free area and gently reminds people not to light up.

Canterbury City Council were inspired by our project and in May 2016 introduced a similar scheme in St Stephens Park, with another four parks to also implement the scheme in the Barton, St Stephens and Northgate area of Canterbury.

ABC’s smoke free play area initiative not only continues to be a success, but strives to reduce the amount of cigarette litter in play areas too, making them a cleaner environment for the community. In conjunction with the council’s new litter enforcement pilot, a £75 fine will be issued to those who deliberately drop cigarettes.

KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “We are pleased that the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has recognised our smoke free parks projects and we would encourage other district councils, across Kent and nationally, to follow Ashford’s lead and set up voluntary no smoking zones.

“The aim is to provide a smoke free environment for children and their families to enjoy, help protect children from the effects of second hand smoke, and reduce the number of children who start smoking after being influenced by those who do. In the process it also reduces the amount of cigarette litter in play areas, making them a cleaner environment for the whole community.”

Ashford Borough Council 12 October 2016

October is International Walk to School Month

iwsmThousands of children across the world will be celebrating walking to school.

Why the walk to school matters

Happier children

It’s been proven that children who do some form of exercise, especially a walk before school, do better in class because they arrive refreshed, fit and ready to learn.

Less congestion

During morning peak traffic times, one in five cars on the road are taking children school, contributing to congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.

Cleaner air

The school run alone is responsible for generating two million tonnes of CO2 per year. Imagine what we could achieve if we began converting some of these rides to strides?


Aspire Landscape Management

aspireIntroducing Aspire Landscape Management

From October, Ashford Borough Council (ABC) will be bringing the responsibility for grounds maintenance across the borough back in-house.

The new service, called Aspire Landscape Management, will cover the day-to-day work of mowing, pruning, planting, clearing and litter picking on various spaces owned by the council including open green space, parks, floral beds, cemeteries, areas around housing sites, hedges, sports pitches and associated footpaths.

The service is also working with Kent County Council (KCC) Highway Services on areas of work that we can perform in order to maintain quality standards. Until now, this work was undertaken by Landscape Services, but from this autumn it will come under the responsibility of ABC. (more…)

Responsible dog ownership

dogPet owners encouraged to take the lead on responsible dog ownership

A dog may be man’s best friend, but they do have a tendency to get lost or roam away from their owners. Fortunately, lost or stray dogs can be reunited with their family much more quickly and easily if they have been microchipped.

To help reunite owners with lost or stolen pets, relieve stress on animal charities and local authorities and encourage responsible dog ownership, a new government law on compulsory microchipping dogs came into force on April 6th 2016.

Dog owners are being reminded to have their pets microchipped and to keep their details up to date. Owners of dogs found without a chip will have 21 days to have the procedure carried out. Those who refuse to microchip their dogs could face a fine of up to £500.

Ashford Borough Council employs a dedicated Dog Warden who is fully equipped with the training and experience to microchip dogs. The warden will offer a free microchipping service where required; this includes if a dog comes into their possession as lost or a stray, or if they receive repeat complaints of a dog straying.

The microchips are available to the council at no cost from the Dogs Trust, enabling Ashford dog owners to use this service for free. Alternatively, owners can take their dog to their local vet to receive a microchip. (more…)